When we discuss how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help prevent cancer, we might think that we have to take something to kill the cancer cells in order to prevent those cells from growing into a tumor. I believe that by the time cancer cells begin to grow in a body, that body already has a “pro cancer condition” that creates a cancer-friendly environment. If the pro cancer condition is eliminated, the more chance one has to win the battle against cancer.
The concept of “pro cancer condition” is very broad. It is a condition of imbalance between our body and our living environment (such as extreme sun exposure, cold, hot, dampness, or pollution), and an imbalance of our internal organs.
The cells in our bodies need a healthy, nourishing, and non-toxic environment. Like the optimal soil conditions necessary for seeds to grow, our cells require the right temperature and ph-balance to function normally. No matter how good the “seeds,” they cannot grow well in bad soil. Similarly, our cells cannot function normally in a pro cancer condition.
Another part of the pro cancer condition results from an imbalance within internal organs, which primarily derives from an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, and stress. These imbalances can create phlegm or stagnate the blood or Qi (energy). If there is blockage in these areas, both congestion and deficiency will occur—like a blocked river, one side would result in congestion, the other side would be void of water (deficiency). Over time, a congested river will become a rancid pond, like a cancerous lump growing in the body. And the same time, the deficiency side of Blockage River has no fresh water flowing like a body has no circulation without providing nutrients to organs. In the pro cancer condition, organs lose their balance since the body does not have the strong immunity necessary to clean up toxins, thereby creating a weak defense against cancer cells.
What are the indications that our body’s immune system has started to weaken?
TCM believes that our body’s strongest defense comes from good and free flowing Qi (energy) within and among five important organs: heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney. Each organ’s defensive energy will guard certain parts of the body. We need to pay attention to our bodies in order to identify the signs and symptoms that indicate our bodies’ immune systems are weak. Here are some indications:
1. Easily susceptible to colds and the development of allergies or herpes are related to the decline of lung organ defensive energy.
2. Easily fatigued, a bland taste in the mouth, or prone to diarrhea indicates a weakness of the spleen organ.
3. Skin changes (with an increase of small red moles especially around the wrist and the abdominal area), a short temper and impatience are related to liver organ imbalance.
4. Sensitivity to cold, feeling cold and frequent urination indicates low kidney energy.
5. Insomnia, anxiety, oral ulcer(s), and no motivation to participate regular activities indicates weak heart energy.
What Should You Do If You Begin to Show Signs of Immunity Weakness?
Our immunity gradually decreases with age. The first step in strengthening our immunity is to correct an unhealthy lifestyle that may compromise our immunity.
How to modify your basic lifestyle?
1. Sleep: It is very important to have at least a good 7 hours of sleep per night for people after middle age. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that night time is yin time. The body is rebuilding during this time and restoring body energy and substance that we consume during the day time (yang time). Long term sleep deprivation causes the body to lose the time necessary to rejuvenate. If the immunity is compromised, it decreases the lymphocytes numbers and liver detoxification process.
2. Unhealthy emotion: constant worry, depression, negative thinking and easily becoming upset by little things. All of these emotions can directly or indirectly impact the production and maturity of immune cells.
3. Sedentary life style: recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
4. Excessive drinking and smoking: Both can decrease the activity of NK (nature killer) cells. It decreases the body’s anti-viral capabilities.
Chinese Food Therapy For Cancer Prevention
Chinese food therapy is a very important part of TCM. Restoring and nourishing the body by using food therapy is the best way to become proactive in prevention. If one sees signs of the pro cancer condition in the body, there are several basic food therapies one can do daily:
1. When one sees signs of Lung energy deficiency:
-Lung Qi congee
-Spring rice: 100g
-Wild Chinese Yam (Dioscorca Opposita Radix): fresh 100g (dry: 30g)
-Bai he (Lily bulb): fresh 100g (dry 30g)
Make with water; cook all ingredients until they are soft and smooth. Serve as breakfast daily.
2. Weakness of Spleen Organs
-One cucian carp fish tail (Carassius auratus) 150.
-Dry ginger: 10g
-Dry tangerine peel: 5g
-Sha ren (Cardamon): 3g
Mix all spices and fish with small amount of salt. Cook with water. Drink the soup and eat the fish. Consume once a day for 2 weeks as course of treatment.
3. Liver organ imbalance:
Fist step to alleviate liver imbalance is to stop smoking and drinking. The second step is to use the following TCM food therapy:
a) Go Ji berry Congee
– Spring rice 100g
– Go Ji berry 30 pieces
– Sesame seed (50g. baked to brown in pan, then crush into powder)
Cooked rice and Go Ji berry in water until soup becomes smooth. Before serving, add sesame powder and vitamin B1 powder. Take once a day for 7-10 days as a course of treatment.
b) Mushroom Date soup
-Black fungus mushroom: 15g (Soak in water until soft. Cut into small strips.)
-White fungus mushroom: 15g (Soak in water until soft. Cut into small strips.)
– Chinese red dates: 15 pieces
Stir fry all ingredients for a short time (about one minute) then add 100cc water and cover. Slowly cook for 5-8 minutes to make soup, then add salt, a few drops of sesame oil and green onion (cut into small pieces for flavor) right before serving.
4. Kidney energy compromised:
– Lotus Seed and Ginger Congee
– Organic Black Rice 100g
– Astragals: 30
– Walnuts: 20g
– Eucommia Bark: 10g
– Dry Ginger: 10g
– Cinnamon: 5g
Take daily for one month as course of treatment.
Put above ingredients in a pot with water. Cook for 2-4 hours over moderate heat. Best way to cook is to use a crock pot filled with cool water and cook overnight until everything becomes softened. Take the congee as breakfast or dinner along with other kinds of food. Serve warm as breakfast.
5. Heart and sleep problems:
– Rice and Whole Wheat Porridge (Congee)
– Spring rice (or sushi rice) 100g
– Whole wheat (whole grain) 100g
– Chinese red dates: 6 pieces (without kernel)
– Stir fry sour date kernels: 10g
Cooking instructions: Wash whole wheat and boil in water for 30 minutes. Use the wheat juice (discharge wheat) to cook rice, dates and the sour date kernels to make congee.
Serve: Take 1-2 times per day for 5-6 days
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic, Dr. Hu has used one of her Chicken Soup recipes to restore overall body immunity, body energy, and promote well being. It has been used by many patients whom undergo chemotherapy with fatigue and low immunity, patients with chronic conditions, and in recovery for illnesses. For people without ailments, it is best taken during winter time to promote health and strengthen the body’s immunity and well being.
Dr. Hu’s Therapeutic Chicken Soup Recipe
– One Whole Organic Chicken
– Astragalus: 30g
– Chinese Wild Yam: 30g
– Cordyceps capsule: 4-6 capsules
– Shitake mushroom: 6-7 pieces
– Chinese red dates: 2-4 pieces
– Vegetables: as you wish
Please put Astragalus and Cordyceps inside chicken stomach before cooking. Cook in moderate temperature for 2 – 4 hours and drink soup. Eat meat as you wish. You can use the broth for other kinds of soup. Consume for 5 days as course of treatment.